How to Apply for a Student Visa to Canada

Once you gain admission into a Canadian university, you must apply for a student visa before becoming an international student.

Canada is one of the most popular countries that students travel to from various countries due to its renowned and sound universities.

They are ranked third after the United States and the United Kingdom regarding the various Master’s and Bachelor’s programs available to international students.

Even though Canada is a friendly place, there are some regulations that any student who comes to study must follow.

The most straightforward process to ensure everything goes smoothly before travelling is to be aware of the requirements for obtaining a study permit from the local government if you intend to stay for more than six months.

The study permit ensures your stay in Canada, but an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a visitor visa is required to gain entry into the country.

This article will explain all you need to know about Canadian student visas, study permits and how to apply for a student visa to Canada. Continue Reading!

What is the Difference Between a Canada Student Visa and Study Permit?

A Canada Student Visa is an electronic travel authorization (eTA) which allows the holder to start their academic career in the country. A study permit is needed in addition to a Canadian student visa.

Therefore, the Canada student visa will include an eTA and a study permit.

You can start studies in Canada at Designated Learning Institutions (DLI) if you have a Canada study visa.

Meanwhile, the study permit enables you to stay in Canada till the end of your program or to work while you are a student or after you graduate.

The following conditions are required to keep the Canada study visa:

● You must attend a DLI.

● Be working while you complete the study program.

● Meet up with the student visa requirement.

● Quit studying if the student’s visa requirement is not met.

● You have to leave Canada immediately when your study permit ends.

You cannot obtain documentation issued by Canada or government benefits like health benefits without a study permit. If obtaining Canadian citizenship is your motive, it will make the process easier for you.

What is a Designated Learning Institution?

As previously stated, enrollment in a Designated Learning Institution is required to receive a Canada student visa.

DLIs are higher education institutions that have received the provincial or territory government’s approval to accept international students.

However, some colleges and other educational institutions are not certified by DLIs. You shouldn’t apply to where you won’t be able to go if you’re accepted.

To determine if a university or other educational facility is a DLI, click this link. You’ll be directed to the official website for all Canadian visas, which the Canadian government runs.

It would help if you chose a province or region on the page before the list of all institutions that are DLIs can be generated. You may determine whether the location to which you intend to apply is a DLI.

You may continue studying till your study permit expires if the institution loses its DLI designation while you are enrolled.

If your permit expires before you graduate, you must enroll in a new DLI to qualify for a recent study approval.

How to Apply for a Student Visa to Canada 

Here is the necessary procedure to obtain a student visa in Canada.

1. Receive a Letter of Acceptance From the Canadian University

Before applying for a student visa, you must have applied and been accepted into a Canadian university.

Your preferred university must be a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), which is a college authorized by the territorial government to accept overseas students, for you to qualify for a student visa.

The duration of your student visa may vary depending on the terms outlined in your admission letter.

Your visa would be valid for the period of these preparatory courses plus one year if you received a conditional offer.

You have to complete the additional courses before starting the main program.

You’ll have to apply for a new visa once it expires.

2. Gather the Necessary Documents

All the required documents needed for your permit before preparing for the online application should be ready.

The Canadian government will require the following:

● Your letter of acceptance from a DLI, either in hard copy or electronically;

● A valid passport or another travel document, along with two recent passport-sized pictures, serving as proof of identification;

● Evidence that you have enough money to support yourself during your studies (at least C$10,000 per year of study, or enough to cover your tuition and living expenses);

● A letter outlining your reasons for coming to Canada to study and confirming that you are aware of your obligations as an international student;

● If you plan to study in Québec, a Québec Acceptance Certificate will be required.

● A custodian declaration will be required if you are younger than 17.

● The confirmation of your C$150 study permits you to purchase.

3. Start the Application Process

Once the necessary documents and your DLI acceptance letter is ready, you can start the online study permit application process.

If you are applying from outside Canada, the processing time for a visa is nine weeks; if you are applying from within Canada, it takes four weeks.

You should visit the Canadian consulate website to monitor your application and know the exact time needed to process your student visa.

When submitting your application, you must:

● Read the instruction guide to make you familiar with the procedure.

● Create an online account, sign in, and use it to pay fees, submit applications, and monitor the progress of those applications;

● Include your precise personal details on the forms (name, address, education, and background);

● Upload your document (admission letter, identity, financial evidence, letter of explanation, etc.);

● Make a payment of the fees;

● Check your application status frequently for any changes or additional requests.

The procedure for obtaining a student visa for Canada does not always include interviews. However, they might invite you for a discussion based on how the officer evaluates your application.

Therefore, you will receive a letter with the interview date, time, and location.

Your student visa will be valid for the period of studies with an extra 90 days if your application is accepted.

If you want to stay longer, you can use this extra time to be ready to leave Canada or to request a visa extension.

4. Biometric and Medical Results

If you are applying from outside Canada and have not provided your biometrics, you must visit an official Visa Application Center to get your fingerprints and photo taken.

In addition to the C$150 study permit price, you must pay an extra C$85 fee and make an appointment at an authorized biometric collecting facility.

People that are excluded from this requirement are:

● 17 years old or below

● 61 years old or above

● A person who had a Canadian visitor visa within the past ten years.

Students need to schedule an appointment with their medical doctors and go in for a checkup, ideally one week before starting their visa application.

This is to have sufficient time to verify and upload the required documents.

5. Prove English proficiency

It is not necessary to obtain an English Language Proficiency Score at the time of application. It is advisable to take a test and receive results before starting the visa application process.

Meanwhile, your English language skill score will be required to verify your admission to the Canadian University. All accepted tests include TOEFL, IELTS, etc.

6. Commence Early; it Takes Time to get Study Permit

As estimated by the Canadian government, it could take up to thirteen weeks to process your study visa application.

So be sure to start your application procedure four to six months before your trip and allow for the waiting period.

Your visa’s processing time will vary depending on several factors.

These considerations include the structure of the application online or on paper.

Including all necessary documents, the ease at which they can check your information, and the speed with which you respond to their requests.

You can apply through the Student Direct Stream (SDS), which enables students from specified countries to get their permits faster. It is processed in 20 calendar days if you don’t want to wait longer.

If you are from one of the following countries, you may apply for this stream:

Antigua and Barbuda




Costa Rica







Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Trinidad and Tobago


But to be eligible for the Student Direct Stream.

You must also have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate worth $10,000 CAN and evidence of language skill from the IELTS or the Test d’évaluation de français (TEF), with a score of 6.0 or better in each category having 7.0 or more in each skill.

7. Come to Canada if your Study Permit is Approved!

Please be aware that you will not be issued a study permit for Canada until you get to the Canadian Port of Entry (POE).

The Canadian government will give you a Port of Entry Introduction Letter if your permit is accepted. When you arrive in Canada, present this letter to the immigration official to acquire your study permit.

Don’t forget that a study permit is different from a visa. It means you need a travel visa to visit the POE in Canada, depending on your country of citizenship.

Reasons for Decline Study Permit and how to Resolve it

Unfortunately, applications are mostly rejected because there is a massive demand for Canadian study visas.

Making the correct application will help you avoid much pressure and expense.

The following are some of the causes of rejection and suggestions to fix them.

Insufficient funds: Having the required minimum fee isn’t enough. It will be better if your application verifies that you have enough money to last longer than a year.

Incorrect acceptance letter: You need a solid registered letter from a Canadian DLI.

Incomplete documents: Your application will be denied if you do not submit your travel authorizations and results from the language assessment.

Plan to return home: You must indicate to return home in the application because study permits are only temporary visas.

The reason for your denial will be communicated to you in the letter.

You are free to reapply for another study permit but ensure to resolve the issues with the first application.

You can file an appeal if you believe your first application was wrongly denied.

Canada Student Visa Fees

A study permit for Canada costs C$150 since the exchange rate keeps fluctuating.

Both online and offline applications for Canadian visas are available.

The online processing fee can be paid with a credit card while offline can also be paid with cash at the visa application centre (VAC) or with a demand draft if paying at the Canadian High Commission.

The fees must be paid along with application.

Also, VAC service fees are not included in the indicated visa fee. You would be required to pay extra service fees that apply to your area.

A receipt will also be provided for each payment made. The receipt should be kept as evidence of payment.

Students must pay a C$85 biometric fee after submitting their visa application. This fee must be paid in addition to the standard visa fee. After that, a Visa Application Center will take your biometrics.


If you plan to study in Canada, you must apply for a student visa to gain entry into the country and get a study permit to ensure your stay.

A study permit will not be required if your program lasts only six months or less. However, it is recommended to apply for a study permit before coming to Canada to save you stress and unnecessary expenses.

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